My good friend and the always sharp Bionic Octopus draws attention to an important British document published in yesterday’s Guardian – a letter sent in May 2004 by the Foreign Office permanent under-secretary Michael Jay to the cabinet secretary basically arguing that the war in Iraq was stimulating Muslim extremism in Britain. The letter states:
Colleagues have flagged up some of the potential underlying causes of extremism that can affect the Muslim community, such as discrimination, disadvantage and exclusion… But another recurring theme is the issue of British foreign policy, especially in the context of the Middle East peace process and Iraq…Experience of both ministers and officials … suggests that … British foreign policy and the perception of its negative effect on Muslims globally plays a significant role in creating a feeling of anger and impotence among especially the younger generation of British Muslims…”
And Bionic makes the connection how odd it is that such a sentiment could have come from within the British government a year before the London bombings and yet the official government position remains that there is no link between the bombings and the Iraq war.
But of course, even now, the Bush administration continues to sound the same song, second verse – “The war in Iraq has made the U.S. safer” and “We have taken the war to our enemies to fight them on their own soil,” etc. etc. Maintaining a plausible façade of justification for a war of aggression like Iraq depends upon convincing the public that national security is a stake. And it seems that in the case of Tony Blair, maintaining that façade even requires contradicting the best assessments of his own government.